November 03, 20181st2nd3rd4thFinal
ETSU0147021
Mercer735318
Scoring
1st Quarter
MERTD00:00Tyray Devezin 1 Yd Run (Cole Fisher kick)
2nd Quarter
ETSUTD10:18Quay Holmes 6 Yd Pass From Austin Herink (JJ Jerman kick)
MERFG05:18Cole Fisher 24 Yd
ETSUTD00:36Quay Holmes 1 Yd Run (JJ Jerman kick)
3rd Quarter
MERSAF11:24Travonte Easley
MERFG08:25Cole Fisher 41 Yd
ETSUTD02:14Quay Holmes 5 Yd Run (JJ Jerman kick)
4th Quarter
MERFG09:36Cole Fisher 24 Yd
Stats at a GlanceETSUMER
1st Downs1719
3rd Down Conversions8-137-13
4th Down Conversions0-10-0
Passing (Comp-Att)161 (19-25) 186 (15-31)
Rushing (Att)199 (37) 124 (33)
Total Yards360310
Penalties3-173-15
Turnovers12
Fumbles Lost10
Interceptions02
Possession31:3028:23
Bucs gear up for Opportunity #10 Saturday in Macon
Bucs gear up for Opportunity #10 Saturday in Macon
Friday, November 2, 2018

MACON, Ga. (Nov. 1, 2018) – Opportunity #10 is the next task at hand for ETSU football.

As the calendar flipped to November, the 22nd-ranked Buccaneers have plenty to play for as ETSU takes on Mercer this Saturday afternoon at Five Star Stadium in Macon. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.

The Bucs enter the weekend at 7-2 overall, 5-1 in SoCon play, which puts ETSU atop the league standings with two regular season games remaining on its schedule. 

ABOUT THE BUCS

ETSU RANKED FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT WEEK

For the fourth straight week, ETSU (7-2, 5-1 SoCon) was ranked in both the Coaches and STATS FCS Top 25 Polls … The Bucs cracked both polls for the first time since the program returned in 2015 back on Oct. 8, marking the first time ETSU was last ranked since Oct. 30, 1999, when the Bucs were No. 18 … The Bucs were ranked No. 23 in the STATS FCS Poll and No. 24 in the Coaches Poll on Oct. 8, while moving up to No. 21 in the STATS Poll the following week … The Blue and Gold, who were ranked No. 25 in both the coaches and media polls last week, moved to No. 22 in the STATS FCS Poll and No. 23 in the coaches poll this week … ETSU is one of two teams in the SoCon who are ranked (No.  8 Wofford), while Chattanooga and Samford are both receiving votes. 

A WIN SATURDAY WOULD…

A Buccaneer win on Saturday would mark ETSU’s 352nd victory in program history, and it would also match the best 10-game start to a season since starting 8-2 in 1996 (ETSU’s best start in program history was in 1969 when the Bucs went 10-0-1 and defeated Terry Bradshaw’s Louisiana Tech squad 34-14 in the Grantland Rice Bowl) … A win would mark their eighth this season, which would be the third-highest win total in program history – ETSU posted 10 wins in both 1996 and 1969 … In addition, it would be the Bucs’ sixth SoCon win, which would be the most since finishing 7-1 in 1996.

BUCS AMONG ELITE GROUP OF FCS TEAMS

ETSU is among an elite group of FCS teams that have reached at least seven wins this season … The Bucs are one of eight teams to accomplish the feat … Joining the Blue and Gold are No. 1 North Dakota State (8-0), No. 2 Kennesaw State (7-1), No. 6 UC Davis (7-1), No. 11 Colgate (7-0), No. 14 Princeton (7-0), No. 20 Dartmouth (7-0) and Alcorn State (7-2). 

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

ETSU’s five SoCon wins have been by a combined 13 points – three at VMI (27-24), two vs. Furman (29-27), three vs. Chattanooga (17-14), three at The Citadel (26-23) and two vs. Western Carolina (45-43, 3OT) …  ETSU has never won five games by three points or less in the 84-year history of the program, while they are the only FCS team to have accomplished the feat this season … The Bucs have posted comebacks in four of the five games, including rallying from 21 down in the third quarter to defeat Furman and by 15 down in the final 6:40 against Western Carolina … Overall, the Blue and Gold have scored 144 points (28.8 per game) and have given up 131 points (26.2) in these contests … Along with the points being nearly identical in these games, points off turnovers are 24-21 in favor of ETSU are nearly similar, while the Bucs are only being outgained by eight yards in the five games – 354.4 to 346.2 … ETSU has scored 15 touchdowns, compared to the opposition posting 17 scores in these five games … The Bucs’ defense has generated 43 tackles for loss (-180 yards) and 18 sacks (-131 yards), while limiting the opposition to 13 first-quarter points … As a team, ETSU is 23-of-24 in red zone scoring, with 12 touchdowns coming in those trips, while opponents are 18-of-20, with 13 touchdowns coming in the red zone. 

ROBINSON’S OCTOBER TO REMEMBER 

Sophomore defensive back Tyree Robinson enjoyed a month to remember in October … Robinson totaled 30 tackles, two tackles for loss, four interceptions (one return for touchdown), and one fumble recovery (for touchdown) in four games last month in which the Bucs went 3-1 en route to improving to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in SoCon play … The Gainesville, Ga. native was named SoCon Defensive Player of the Week and STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week following his 8-tackle, 2-interception (one returned for 42-yard touchdown) in the 26-23 win over The Citadel … Robinson’s 42-yard TD return in the final minutes of the game put ETSU ahead by 10, 26-16 … He began the month with five tackles and his first collegiate interception in the 45-0 win over Gardner-Webb, marking the Bucs’ first shutout since blanking Concord back in 2003 … Robinson posted an interception for a third straight game at Wofford, while also recovering a fumble in the end zone, marking the second consecutive week with a defensive touchdown for the Buccaneer defensive back … He also tallied a career-high nine tackles in the 45-43 triple-overtime win over Western Carolina … Overall, Robinson recorded at least eight tackles in three of the four games, while adding four interceptions in a three-game stretch from Oct. 6-20 … Robinson ranks 15th among FCS players in interceptions per game (0.4), while his four interceptions are the most by a Buccaneer player since 2003 when Montreal Harkley totaled six. 

HERINK’S CAREER PERFORMANCE AGAINST WESTERN CAROLINA

Along with orchestrating his eighth career comeback win last weekend against Western Carolina, redshirt senior quarterback Austin Herink also set career highs in completions (28) and pass attempts (46) … Herink’s 28 completions are tied for the fourth-most by a Buccaneer quarterback in single-game history, while his 46 attempts rank third-most in program history … The last time an ETSU quarterback completed more passes in a single contest was the 1996 playoff game at Montana when Greg Ryan recorded 29 completions (51 attempts). 

HOLMES JOINS ELITE COMPANY

Quay Holmes entered elite Buccaneer company following his first-quarter rushing touchdown in the Bucs’ 45-43 win over Western Carolina last Saturday … Holmes recorded his 10th rushing touchdown of the season, becoming just the third Buccaneer player to have posted at least 10 rushing touchdowns in one season … Holmes joins Brandon Walker (done it three times) and George Searcy (17 TDs, 1989) as the only players to reach double-digit rushing touchdowns in one season … Walker rushed for 13 touchdowns in both 1999 and 1996, while adding 10 rushing scores in 1998 … Holmes also needs 199 rushing yards to crack the top-10 ETSU single-season leaders list as Herman Jacob’s 835 rushing yards in 1985 ranks 10th … Holmes’ 636 rushing yards this season are the most by a Buccaneer running back since the return of the program in 2015 (Jajuan Stinson rushed for 593 yards in 2016). 

SANDERS TIES RECORD AS FIRST-YEAR HEAD COACH

Randy Sanders picked up his seventh victory of the season after the Bucs rallied past Western Carolina in a triple-overtime thriller last Saturday inside Greene Stadium … With that win, Sanders tied the program record for victories by an ETSU head coach in his first season (Paul Hamilton had seven in 1997). 

ETSU’s TRIPLE-OVERTIME THRILLER LONGEST IN FCS THIS SEASON

Last weekend’s triple-overtime thriller against Western Carolina has marked the longest overtime game among FCS teams this season … It marked the first triple-overtime game for a SoCon school since Sept. 24, 2016 when VMI beat Bucknell … Last Saturday also marked the first-ever triple-overtime game for the Bucs. 

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

The Bucs’ five SoCon victories have been decided by 13 total points with ETSU’s largest margin of victory in those games being three points – vs. VMI, Chattanooga and Citadel … ETSU is 4-0 this season when scoring first … The Bucs are 5-0 in games decided by three points or less and 6-0 when hold opponents to less than 30 points … When ETSU outrushes the opposition, the Bucs are 4-0, while also going 4-0 when winning the time of possession and turnover battle … The Blue and Gold are 4-0 when leading after three quarters, while also picking up three wins when trailing at halftime and trailing after three quarters – ETSU trailed at the half and after three quarters vs. VMI, Furman and Western Carolina. 

ABOUT MERCER

Mercer suffered a 42-21 setback at No. 7 Wofford last Saturday afternoon in Spartanburg … Following the loss, the Bears moved to 4-4 overall, 3-2 in SoCon play 

The Bears have won two of their three games at home this season and have won nine of their 13 home games since the 2016 season … This season the Bears are averaging 45 points in their three home games – 45 vs. Jacksonville, 31 vs. Citadel (loss) and 59 vs. Western Carolina 

Overall, Mercer has scored at least 30 points in five of its eight games this season 

Offensively, Mercer is averaging 34.5 points per game and 409.3 yards per contest (255.6 passing/153.5 rushing) … Opponents are averaging 36.5 points per game and 523 yards per game (290.6 passing/232.4 rushing) 

The Bears have forced 11 turnovers this season (six interceptions, five fumbles), while Mercer has turned the ball over 10 times (five interceptions, five fumbles) 

Mercer is converting on 38% of its third down chances this season (34-of-89) and 5-of-7 on fourth down (71%), compared to opponents picking up 50% of their third down opportunities (60-for-121) and 63% on fourth down (17-for-27)

Freshman quarterback Robert Riddle took over starting duties following the Bears’ week one setback Memphis; however, he suffered a fourth-quarter injury vs. The Citadel and has been sidelined since … Redshirt sophomore Kealan Riley – who started week one at Memphis – has taken over duties behind center … Riley, the 2017 SoCon Freshman of the Year and Jerry Rice Award Finalist – started all 11 games last season for the Bears en route to setting program records for completion percentage (59.4), completions (171) and passing yards (2,030) 

Riley is 68-for-126 (54%) with 1,123 yards passing with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in seven games this season

Senior running back Tee Mitchell has rushed for 676 yards and six touchdowns on 123 carries, while sophomore running back Tyray Devezin has 555 rushing yards and six touchdowns in eight games this year … Mitchell is a two-time all-SoCon performer and earned preseason all-conference honors in 2018

Senior wide receiver Marquise Irvin leads the team in receptions (41), receiving yards (672) and touchdowns (4) … Irvin is a two-time all-SoCon receiver and was named to the preseason all-SoCon team this fall … Senior Stephen Houzah and freshman wide receiver David Durden also have four receiving touchdowns

All-SoCon kicker Cole Fisher is 8-of-11 on field goals this season – including 7-of-8 from inside 40

Redshirt junior linebacker Will Coneway leads Mercer with 68 tackles, while redshirt senior linebacker Bradley Earnest leads the club with two sacks … Redshirt senior linebacker LeMarkus Bailey has 44 tackles, five tackles for loss and two forced fumbles … Bailey is a two-time team captain and earned all-SoCon honor a year ago … Sophomore defensive back BJ Bohler leads the Bears with two interceptions

SERIES HISTORY

This marks the fourth straight season ETSU and Mercer are meeting on the gridiron with the Bears winning two of the previous three matchups … However, the Bucs won the last meeting as ETSU defeated Mercer 26-23 in overtime last September in Greene Stadium … The Bucs trailed by 10 points entering the fourth quarter before mounting their comeback thanks to a 49-yard field goal by JJ Jerman and a one-yard touchdown run from Blake Rodgers with 4:35 remaining in regulation … In overtime, Mercer took the ball first and went ahead on a 29-yard field goal by Cole Fisher, while the Bucs needed just one play on their first possession to win the game as Austin Herink hit Jajuan Stinson on a 25-yard pass play to end the ballgame … Last year’s contest was a game of runs as ETSU jumped out to a 10-0 lead, before Mercer scored 20 unanswered and ETSU scored 16 of the final 19 points … Herink was 26-of-33 for 284 yards and one touchdown, while adding 34 rushing yards and one score … Defensively, Kaman Cooper added a team-high eight tackles, while Dylan Weigel had a 50-yard fumble return, which led to Herink’s 3-yard touchdown run … ETSU held the ball for nearly 36 minutes of the game and did not turn the ball over ... The defense held Mercer to 2-of-10 on third down and forced one takeaway … The Bears have won both meetings in Macon as they defeated the Blue and Gold 52-0 in 2015 and 21-13 in 2016 … Dylan Weigel has 24 career tackles and three fumble recoveries all-time against Mercer, while Austin Gatewood has totaled 21 tackles (two tackles for loss) in three outings against the Bears … In three career games vs. Mercer, Austin Herink is completing 67% of his passes (57-for-85) with two passing touchdowns (one rushing) and 601 yards passing (one interception).

COVERAGE

Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 with Frank Malloy (play-by-play), Phil Cox (color) and Kristin Banks (sideline) on the call.

CLICK HERE FOR ESPN3 BROADCAST

The Buccaneer Sports Network (BSN) will provide ETSU fans with complete pregame, in-game and postgame coverage on the radio. Games air live on the Bucs’ flagship station WXSM-AM 640 and affiliate station 104.9 FM NASH ICON.     

The BSN begins its pregame programing one hour and 30 minutes prior to kickoff with the 30-minute long ETSU Football Tailgate Show, followed by the Randy Sanders Pregame Show Powered by Ford which will lead up to 30 minutes prior to kickoff. The Appalachian Orthopaedic Countdown to Kickoff will then lead into the final moments before kickoff.       

The broadcast team of “Voice of the Bucs” Jay Sandos, color analyst and former ETSU quarterback Matt Wilhjelm, sideline reporter Robert Harperand studio hosts Mike Gallagher and Trey Adams will provide ETSU fans all the information they need to complement their game-day activities. 

At halftime, the crew will have the Zaxby’s Halftime Show, while fans can tune into the General Shale Post Game Show for a full wrap up, with game statistics, players and coach interviews, and other post-game information.       

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE AUDIO

In addition to following the Bucs on your mobile device and/or tablet with live audio and video, fans can get up-to-the-minute stats by following the action via StatBroadcast on MercerBears.com.  

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE STATS 

For more information on Buccaneer football, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the football link.